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Sir Sapo


Hey everyone!

Just a quick little update this time, as I didn't have much time to work on the game today.

As you may have seen in my past few updates, the Prebuilder is a console app that creates a random layout for a map. Now the layout generation is relatively simple, the generator starts at the extreme bottom of the map area, and then adds rooms and randomly branches off to create "forks in the road". This cycle repeats until the number of rooms requested has been met. The difficult part comes later however, when attributes are added to the rooms in the level. An example of an attribute is if the room has a locked door, or if it is a "trap room" that you have to fight your way out of.

Most of the attributes can be randomly placed in any room on the map without any problems, as they aren't dependent on attributes placed in other rooms. An example of these independent rooms would be a supply room with health, an aformentioned "trap room", etc. All the events in these types of rooms are independent of any outside things.

Thr tricky part comes when you have interconnected attributes, such as locked doors and the keys that unlock them. These rooms are special because they must occur in a certain order (ie. the key must come before the locked door). In order to insure this happens, when the rooms are being created, they are placed in a list that organizes them in order of their creation. That way, when a locked door is randomly placed in the map, the key can be placed in any room that was generated earlier than the door. I implemented this feature last night, and despite a few setbacks, I managed to get the system working consistently.

As you can see in the screeny below, the map generation is coming along really nice, and I'm adding special attributes like a crazy person! You may be able to see some wierd things in this screeny, such as having 2 rooms of the same attribute really close to eachother (look at the two armories right next to eachother at the beginning of the map). Now that the basic functionality is in there, I begin to refine the generation, and hopefully get rid of some of those little oddities.

Interesting Night....
So yesterday night, I went with my girlfriend and her parents to see a concert with these two guys playing folk and country music (not even close to being my favorite genre). I went not expecting to have much fun, but when I got there I was shocked to discover that one of the musicians was none other than the evil Senator Kinsey from Stargate SG-1 (pretty much the greatest show evar!1!~!). Turns out he's a really nice guy, and can play a mean guitar to boot, so the night was saved from being a total waste[wink]

Also, yesterday night I was bored on the trip to the concert, so I decided to buy a new cellphone game, and after browsing for a couple minutes, I settled on Doom RPG. Expecting to find a crappy half-ass RPG with a doom storyline, I found an incredibly fun game. It was so addicting, that I ended up playing it for about 2 hours last night after I got home. The controls are good, the graphics kickass (raycasting on a phone!?!), and the dialog with other characters is actually pretty funny, here's an example (its a series of emails you can read)

Major Whatever: Where are those reports I asked for, you were supposed to have them done yesterday!

Sargeant Guy: Sorry, I've been playing this old game I found called DOOM, it like 100 years old, but its so incredibly fun and addicting. Its wierd though, the setting sounds alot like what we've been doing.

Anyways, the moral of the story is to buy Doom RPG, it kicks serious ass for a phone game.

Well, thats all I've got for now, but I'm still working, so I might have another update sometime tonight.
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So do you have different keys for different doors?

What's a monster trap?

Ever decide if it was gonna be one giant map or a bunch of maps?

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The keys will work kinda like the keys in Doom, where you have a red key, blue key, etc.

A monster trap is a room that you walk into, and then alarms go off, the doors all lock, and tons of monsters then flood the room from "monster spawn" ala Gauntlet. Then you have to stay alive and kill all the remaining monsters for the room to go out of lockdown, whereupon the doors unlock and you can go on your merry way! It kinda a way to break the monotony of going from room to room to room and only shooting a few creatures at a time.

Well, I haven't been able to talk to Mark about the whole multi vs. single level thing (We like to come to agreement on large issues like that), so I'm not sure right now, but I would like to have a few different modes of play, such as:

Survival: A Continuous monster trap room with no way out.
Marathon: A Ginormous 200+ room map that you have to get through with no pausing!
Campaign or something: A series of larger and larger, more difficult maps
?????? Mode: Its gonna be awesome......

Thanks for the comment!

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Those all sound cool. Unfortunately they remind me of my most recent "shelved" (likely to never be looked at again) project. My co-designer and I decided at the start we wanted to have 2 fairly average sized campaigns, and one very large campaign that would be released for download in chunks. So I started doing what I do best (coding), and he did what he did best (music). About 3 months later, we had the game 99%+ code-complete, and a dozen tracks of music. Unfortunately the only story we had was a shitty one I threw together for testing purposes. Since then, development has dragged on for 6 months, not really going anywhere. He hates writing stories and continues to work on music, and I suck at writing stories and continue working on other projects.

I only say all this to point out that this was supposed to be a quick & dirty project, so be sure to evaluate whether you can actually fit all those game modes and features into the dev time you alotted :) They do sound cool though.

Any plans for multiplayer? Co-op would be the shit.

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Well, luckily for us the whole point of the project is to make a game that generates all the levels itself, so we don't have to. This means that to add all the gametypes just requires the modification of the parameters used to create the levels.

Multiplayer is currently up in the air, I'd like to get some experience with net programming though, so it might happen....

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How does one have a "campaign" with randomly generated levels? What would distinguish it from the mode whereby you just have a single gigantic level?

I've done network coding quite a bit using sockets. My experience may or may not be useful for you :)

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You can modify which Catalogs can be used on each level, so the campaign could be a progression of themes with greater and greater numbers of rooms. For example, the levels could be like this:

Level 1: Entrance
Use only Lobby and Office Catalogs
Only have 20 rooms

Level 2: Armory
Use Barracks, Military, and Firing Range Catalogs
Have 30 rooms and more weapons made available

etc, etc

I think my entry tonight is going to have a large segment on what parameters go into level creation, so I'll go more indepth then.

I'm thinking that if any sort of network play is going to be implemented, I'm goin to use RakNet, which I have some experience with, and is one of the easiest to use libraries I've ever seen.

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